The eastern section of the north-south highway is essentially on schedule

VIETNAM, June 10 – Transport Minister Nguyễn Văn Thể answers questions from NA deputies on Thursday morning during the third session of the 15-term National Assembly. — Photo VNA/VNS Doãn Tấn

HÀ NỘI — The implementation of the eastern section of the north-south highway project is mostly on schedule and four sub-projects will be completed this year.

Transport Minister Nguyễn Văn Thể addressed the National Assembly deputies on Thursday morning during the third session of the 15-term National Assembly, where he was asked about the current status of the project while that the prices of construction materials are on the rise and that there is a shortage of fill materials.

The four sub-projects are expected to be completed this year, consisting of Mai Sơn-National Highway 45; Cam Lộ-La Sơn; Vĩnh Hảo-Phan Thiết and Phan Thiết-Dầu Giây.

The average progress of the four sub-projects has now reached 58 percent of the workload, he said.

Thể said that the Vĩnh Hảo-Phan Thiết sub-project has achieved 40% of the workload. It is expected to reach 50.8% of the workload by June 30, while the Phan Thiết-Dầu Giây sub-project has so far reached 45% of the workload.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính ordered the ministry to complete the four sub-projects three months ahead of schedule, he said.

The ministry is closely monitoring the progress of the sub-projects to ensure they are on schedule, he added.

Currently, the ministry has operated a total of 10 sub-projects to construct the eastern section of the expressway under the first phase, he said.

He also said that Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành meets directly with the ministry every month to review the progress of the sub-projects and that the Deputy Ministers of Transport visit the construction sites of the sub-projects to check and eliminate difficulties every week.

The ministry is striving to complete 361 km of the four sub-projects as planned, he said.

Also, the ministry will coordinate with localities to have early notifications of building material prices to reduce the price difference for contractors, he said.

The eastern section of the north-south highway project is 654 km long and divided into 11 sub-projects. Of these, eight sub-projects are in the form of public investment and three sub-projects are in the form of public-private partnership.

The highway crosses the 13 provinces of Nam Định, Ninh Bình, Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận, Bình Thuận, Đồng Nai, Tiền Giang and Vĩnh Long.

The project represents a total investment of approximately VNĐ100 trillion ($4.29 billion). There is a sub-project, named Cao Bồ-Mai Sơn, connecting Nam Định province to Ninh Bình province, which was put into operation at the beginning of this year.

Also during the session, NA MP Mai Văn Hải demanded that in the period 2021-25, more than 2,000 km of highways be built. It is believed to cause pressure on capital, land clearing and building materials. Therefore, Hải asked what solutions the ministry can provide to solve these difficulties and achieve the goal in the coming times.

Thể said about 1,200 km of highways have been completed and 800 km are under construction.

He also acknowledged that there is a lot of pressure, but lack of capital is not an issue.

According to the law on public investment, a project is only approved when there is enough capital, he said.

He said land clearing is also a challenge as the highways pass through many localities.

However, the ministry has already ordered localities to make efforts to carry out land clearing works to meet the deadline, he said.

He added that the ministry has coordinated with relevant agencies to eliminate difficulties to ensure the supply of construction materials for the expressway projects.

“Although there are difficulties, the ministry will achieve the goal as planned,” he said.

Non-stop toll booths

NA Deputy Đặng Hồng Sỹ said that the installation of non-stop toll booths started in 2015. However, some stations are yet to complete the installation by June 30, 2022. Sỹ asked the main cause of the situation.

Thể said non-stop toll is a new technology, which is applied to facilitate people’s travel and help them pay taxes and fees in an open and transparent manner.

The ministry has been applying the technology since 2015. However, in the process of implementation, there have been many obstacles, including people’s habits, difficulties of mechanisms and technical failures in operation, he said.

He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, by June 30, all toll stations must complete the installation of non-stop toll collection.

“The government is very determined,” he said.

If the toll stations do not complete their installation, the ministry orders them to stop collecting the toll. They will only be allowed to collect the toll after their installation is complete, he said. —VNS

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